Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
by Susan Taubes, introduction by David Rieff
Dream and reality overlap in Divorcing, a book in which divorcing is not just a matter of marital collapse but names a rift that runs right through the inner and outer worlds of Sophie Blind, its brilliant but desperate protagonist. Can the rift be mended? Perhaps in the form of a novel, one that goes back from present-day New York to Sophie’s childhood in pre–World War II Budapest, that revisits the divorce between her Freudian father and her fickle mother, and finds a place for a host of further tensions and contradictions of her life now. The question that haunts Divorcing, however, is whether any novel can be fleet and bitter and true and light enough to gather up all the darkness of a given life.
Susan Taubes’s startlingly original novel was published in 1969 but largely ignored; after the author’s tragic early death, it was forgotten. Its republication presents a chance to rediscover a dazzlingly intense and inventive writer whose work in many ways anticipates the fragmentary, glancing, lyrical novels that Renata Adler and Elizabeth Hardwick would write in the 1970s.
[T]his formally bold novel will gratify admirers of Taubes' friend and contemporary Susan Sontag, Elizabeth's Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, and Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. . . . A wry and cerebral study of identity, marriage, sex, and the interleafing of personal, familial, and national history.